Promoting fries seems immoral

John O'Connell's (Nov. 11) article on the increased export of potatoes for french fries (USDA forecasts spud export growth) is another indication that profit is more important than health.

Potatoes can be healthy but not in the form of fries. It is unfortunate that we export unhealthy food to other societies to make them obese like our population seems to be getting.

Can't we find something to export that is healthy? USDA, the Institute of Medicine and others want to rewrite guidelines for our own school lunch program by removing pizza and fries but members of Congress oppose it.

Promoting unhealthy food sees rather immoral. On the other hand, it does increase the need for health care, in which there is significant profit.

Dell Allen

Washougal, Wash.

A writer misses Bill Duncan

Bill Duncan more than just mentored me as a writer, he touched my life and showed me a new direction that I never thought possible. He will be sorely missed.

I met Bill in the pages of the Capital Press. I always figured I'd be just a rancher, but something in Bill's column gave me that nudge. It was his article, "Rotten Rejections" that inspired me to write to him, just for idle curiosity's sake, and ask where I should send my prized manuscript so I could start the rejection process.

Bill not only wrote back to me the most encouraging letter I'd ever received, he also included a mound of papers -- notes from his own college courses on writing, writing style books, contract pitfalls, submission guidelines, quotes and stories from famous authors when they were just starting out, books from other fledgling writers, etc. The cost of postage he spent on me was staggering. His enthusiasm, insight, guidance and knowledge was, and still is, beyond price.

He took the time to meet with me one afternoon and we discussed my writing as a career. I carry his words of wisdom with me to this day. He is the one who gave me the courage to enter the Guideposts magazine writing contest, which subsequently won me a trip to New York and a job writing for the largest circulation magazine in America. Now I'm not only a rancher, I'm a writer, too.

I will deeply miss Bill, but I am eternally grateful for the chance to have met this wonderful, caring, giving man who has, and will continue, to inspire me. I wish I could have known him longer, but his memory will be cherished in my heart for as long as I live.

Erika Bentsen

Sprague River, Ore.

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